Blu-ray News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Release Date: May 28th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Cruella - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Disney has finally made a live-action feature film based on one of their own animated properties that are actually watchable. Cruella is not only watchable, but it's punk-rock, badass, amazing, and tells a different story that hasn't really been told before, revealing some original material while paying homage to its predecessor origin film from 1961, 101 Dalmations. Cruella is Disney done right and is full of thrills, entertainment, excellent performances, and one of the best soundtracks in years. All hail, Cruella

Catch Cruella in theaters or on Disney+ (with an extra fee) 5/28 - Order Your Tickets on Fandango!


A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
May 28th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Taking its cues from 101 Dalmations, Cruella takes place before Pongo and Perdita stole the hears of families in the 1960s and follows a young woman named Estella (Emma Stone), whose mother dies at a young age, leaving the little girl an orphan on the streets of London in the early 1970s. Luckily she crosses paths with two other orphans Jasper and Horace who earn money and food by being petty criminals with some elaborate schemes that involve their two puppy dogs. A few years go by and now the adult versions of Estella (Stone), Jasper (Joel Fry), and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser) have become a makeshift family, still living together and planning big heists to make money. however, Estella's dream is to become a fashion designer and through a con, lands a job at the prestigious Baroness von Hellman's (Emma Thompson) fashion house cleaning floors and toilets.

Through this, Estella drunkenly creates a window display that catches the eye of the Baroness herself, thus promoting her to fashion designer. Estella herself is timid, shy, and sweet, but throughout this early part of the film has shown her darker side, which came out in her childhood years of being bullied. She dubs this her alternate personality - Cruella. As time ticks away and the severe emotional abuse of the Baroness, Cruella tends to show herself more often until some information comes to light about the death of her mother all those years ago that fully transforms Estella into Cruella for good. This is all done in the form of guerilla-style fashion shows to excellent punk-rock music of the era that has the Braonees going to extra lengths to take down this mysterious Cruella.

If anyone has seen 101 Dalmations, it's easy to see where this movie will eventually end up, but it's not as black and white as the cartoon from the '60s makes it out to be. Cruella is the protagonist here and everyone roots for her. she's just so likable, charming, and so eccentric that her checkered actions and hot temper can be overlooked, which Emma does a spectacular job of switching emotions and tones throughout the film.

Cruella in this film is a sad story that has been turned into a life of riches and some version of happiness, much like everybody saw in Al Pacino's Scarface where he came from nothing and made himself one of the wealthiest, scariest, and most talked about person in town. That's what happens with Cruella here and it's phenomenal to watch unfold on screen as several twists and turns are presented that give ample ammunition for Cruella to turn to the dark side for good. She's not all bad though as she still implores her loyalty to her two friends and her dogs, but anyone else in her way will get the brunt explosion of her persona.

Director Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) was heavily influenced by The Dark Knight and The Joker film when making Cruella. There are plenty of similar camera shots, themes, and tones that go along with those films as another big-anti-hero is born in this Disney film. There are so many similarities, that it would be easy to see Cruella taking place inside the DCEU and standing alongside Batman at some point. Gillespie's direction is energetic and full of surprises and camera tricks that feel like something from Baz Luhrman's chest of creations, but instead of jazz, it's all about the punk-rock era. Both Emma Stone and Emma Thompson turn in remarkable performances, exploring the evilness of their characters, while Stone is allowed to explore her more sentimental and loyal side of things, which makes a perfect concoction of good vs evil. The supporting cast is wonderful as well and adds their necessary emotional and comedic value which never outstays its welcome.


Video Review


Audio Review


Special Features


The score and song list could be an actual character in the film with a playlist of all the hit pun-rock songs from the 1970s coming into play that is sure to score points with the older crowd and influence the younger kids with songs from decades past. Additionally, the costume and set design will for sure win awards come next year as each dress and suit and interior design is fantastic and rock n' roll to its finest. But deep down beneath all this surface material is a film about a woman following her dream and discovering who she's meant to be in life with the hand that was dealt with her. she's true to herself and never gives in to gives up, which is a great message. Cruella is one of the best and most entertaining films of the year and is definitely the best film visually in Disney's live-action trunk to date. Cruella is dark, brooding, and at the same time a Disney film that is great for the whole family. Most of all - Cruella is punk-rock with a Christopher Nolan twist. Let it be known that the world is ready for Cruella and that Disney was smart enough to not show any harm to dogs in this film. P.S. - There is a mid-credit sequence worth watching here. 

Catch Cruella in theaters or on Disney+ (with an extra fee) 5/28 - Order Your Tickets on Fandango!